« PreviousContinue »
niam invitatus, patriam tamen deferere noluit: itaque Carolus ix, petitum undique calumniis domi, invidorùmque morfibus, non folùm præfenti ope fublevavit, fed honore auxit et amplificavit, eíque vacationem à laboribus conceffit. Tandem, anno 1572, in illa Parifienfi Christianorum ac civium internecione, indigniffime periit. Necis caufam funt qui in æmulos ejus conferant : plerique eandem quæ ceteris ea nocte trucidatis fuiffe exiftimant. Legatum annuum mathematico profeffori in Parifienfi academia luculentum teftamento reliquit.
PEOPLE OF ENGLAND,
AN ANONYMOUS LIBEL
"THE ROYAL BLOOD CRYING TO HEAVEN FOR VENGEANCE ON THE ENGLISH PARRICIDES."
TRANSLATED FROM THE LATIN,
BY ROBERT FELLOWES, A. M. Oxon.
A GRATEFUL recollection of the divine goodness, is the first of human obligations; and extraordinary favours demand more folemn and devout acknowledgments; with fuch acknowledgments I feel it my duty to begin this work. Firft, because I was born at a time, when the virtue of my fellow-citizens, far exceeding that of their progenitors in greatnefs of foul and vigour of enterprize, having invoked heaven to witnefs the juftice of their caufe, and been clearly governed by its directions, has fucceeded in delivering the commonwealth from the moft grievous tyranny, and religion from the most ignominious degradation. And next, becaufe when there fuddenly arofe many who, as is ufual with the vulgar, bafely calumniated the most illuftrious atchievements, and when one eminent above the reft, inflated with literary pride, and the zealous applauses of his partizans, had in a fcandalous publication, which was particularly levelled against
against me, nefariously undertaken to plead the caufe of defpotifm, I who was neither deemed unequal to fo renowned an adverfary, nor to fo great a fubject, was particularly felected by the deliverers of our country, and by the general fuffrage of the public, openly to vindicate the rights of the English nation, and confequently of liberty itself. Laftly, because in a matter of fo much moment, and which excited fuch ardent expectations, I did not difappoint the hopes nor the opinions of my fellowcitizens; while men of learning and eminence abroad, honoured me with unmingled approbation; while I obtained fuch a victory over my opponent, that notwithftanding his unparalleled affurance, he was obliged to quit the field with his courage broken and his reputation loft; and for the three years which he lived afterwards, much as he menaced and furioufly as he raved, he gave me no farther trouble, except that he procured the paltry aid of fome despicable hirelings, and fuborned fome of his filly and extravagant admirers to fupport him under the weight of the unexpected and recent difgrace, which he had experienced. This will immediately appear. Such are the fignal favours which I afcribe to the divine beneficence, and which I thought it right devoutly to commemorate, not only that I might discharge a debt of gratitude, but particularly because they feem aufpicious to the fuccefs of my prefent undertaking. For who is there, who does not identify the honour of his country with his own? And what can conduce more to the beauty or glory of ones country, than the recovery, not only of its civil but its religious liberty? And what nation or ftate ever obtained both, by more fuccefsful or more valorous exertion? For fortitude is feen refplendent, not only in the field of battle and amid the clafh of arms, but difplays its energy under every difficulty and against every affailant. Thofe Greeks and Romans, who are the objects of our admiration, employed hardly any other virtue in the extirpation of tyrants, than that love of liberty which made them prompt in feizing the sword and gave them strength to use it. With facility they accomplished the undertaking, amid the general fhout of praise and joy; nor did they engage in the attempt fo much,
as an enterprize of perilous and doubtful iffue, as in a contest the most glorious, in which virtue could be fignalized; which infallibly led to prefent recompence; which bound their brows with wreaths of laurel, and configned their memories to immortal fame. For as yet, tyrants were not beheld with a fuperftitious reverence; as yet they were not regarded with tenderness and complacency, as the vicegerents or deputies of Christ, as they have fuddenly profeffed to be; as yet the vulgar, ftupified by the fubtle cafuiftry of the priest, had not degenerated into a state of barbarifm, more grofs than that which difgraces the most fenfeless natives of Hindostan. For thefe make mifchievous demons, whofe malice they cannot refift, the objects of their religious adoration; while thofe elevate impotent tyrants, in order to fhield them from deftruction, into the rank of Gods; and to their own coft, confecrate the pefts of the human race.
against this dark array of long received opinions, fuperftitions, obloquy, and fears, which fome dread even more than the enemy himself the English, had to contend; and all this, under the light of better information, and favoured by an impulse from above, they overcame with fuch fingular enthusiasm and bravery, that, great as were the numbers engaged in the conteft, the grandeur of conception, and loftiness of spirit which were univerfally difplayed, merited for each individual more than a mediocrity of fame; and Britain, which was formerly styled the hot-bed of tyranny, will hereafter deferve to be celebrated for endless ages, as a foil most genial to the growth of liberty. During the mighty struggle, no anarchy, no licentioufnefs was feen; no illufions of glory, no extravagant emulation of the antients inflamed them with a thirst for ideal liberty; but the rectitude of their lives, and the fobriety of their habits, taught them the only true and fafe road to real liberty; and they took up arms only to defend the fanctity of the laws, and the rights of confcience. Relying on the divine affiftance, they. ufed every honourable exertion to break the yoke of flavery; of the praife of which though I claim no share to myfelf, yet I can easily repel any charge which may be. adduced against me, either of want of courage, or want
of zeal. For though I did not participate in the toils or dangers of the war, yet I was at the fame time engaged in a fervice not lefs hazardous to myself, and more beneficial to my fellow-citizens; nor, in the adverse turns of our affairs, did I ever betray any fymptoms of pufillanimity and dejection; or fhew myself more afraid than became me, of malice or of death: For fince from my youth, I was devoted to the pursuits of literature, and my mind had always been stronger than my body, I did not court the labours of a camp, in which any common perfon would have been of more fervice than myself, but reforted to that employment in which my exertions were likely to be of most avail. Thus, with the better part of my frame, I contributed as much as poffible to the good of my country, and to the fuccefs of the glorious caufe in which we were engaged; and I thought, that if God willed the success of fuch glorious atchievments, it was equally agreeable to his will, that there fhould be others by whom those atchievements fhould be recorded with dignity and elegance; and that the truth, which had been defended by arms, should also be defended by reason; which is the beft and only legitimate means of defending it. Hence, while I applaud those, who were victorious in the field, I will not complain of the province which was affigned me; but rather congratulate myself upon it, and thank the author of all good for having placed me in a station, which may be an object of envy to others, rather than of regret to myself. I am far from wishing to make any vain or arrogant comparisons, or to fpeak oftentatiously of myself, but, in a cause fo great and glorious, and particularly on an occafion when I am called by the general fuffrage to defend the very defenders of that caufe; I can hardly refrain from affuming a more lofty and fwelling tone, than the fimplicity of an exordium may seem to justify; and much as I may be furpaffed in the powers of eloquence, and copioufnefs of diction, by the illuftrious orators of antiquity; yet the fubject of which I treat, was never furpaffed in any age, in dignity or in intereft. It has excited fuch general, and fuch ardent expectation, that I imagine myself not in the forum or on the roftra, furrounded only by the people of Athens